Channeling 'Air Power' into pompoms

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Victor J. Caputo
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
The Wichita Thunder, a local Central Hockey League team, shows its support for the military by choosing a "Hero of the Game" every home game to highlight a veteran in the local community.

Senior Airman Amanda Torres, 22nd Operations Support Squadron aviation resource management journeyman, received the honor March 22, 2013.

She was nominated for the honor by several of her coworkers in appreciation of her hard work and dedication, but these coworkers didn't come from McConnell AFB.

Torres also works as one of the Lightning Girls, the cheerleading team that helps keep the morale and spirit high during Thunder games.

During regular duty hours, Torres works in the 22nd OSS and helps maintain records and critical information for pilots and other aircrew.

The Airmen that work with Torres on base weren't shocked when they heard she was being recognized.

"She is a great person and gives it her all on and off-duty," said Tech. Sgt. Amanda Rempel, 22nd OSS Host Aviation Resource Management NCO in charge. "I wasn't surprised she was being honored."

Torres began to search for a cheerleading position upon the suggestion of her boyfriend and found the Thunder team just in time for tryouts.

"My dad and I always used to joke about cheerleaders when I was a kid," said Torres. "When he found out I made the team, he was like 'I guess I can't make those jokes anymore.' I said 'Nope!' I'm proud of my pompoms."

Torres and the other Lighting Girls practice and work out together every week.

"It only takes around 15 minutes to learn a new routine, so it's not too difficult," said Torres.

The Ft. Riley, Kan., native has spent one season with the team, but due to an upcoming deployment will not be returning.

"I really wish I could stay with them," said Torres, "but I'll be missing the tryout season."

With the regular season over and the playoffs coming to an inevitable close, Torres will depart from the cheerleading team and continue her military career.

She hopes to eventually join the U.S. Army Reserve and open a spa and boutique after completing her bachelor's degree.

"She has a lot of drive and goals," said Rempel. "I think that she will follow her dreams and be very successful serving our great nation."